Story goes that when Chinese immigrants settled in Malaysia, they married locals who learned to cook Chinese recipes but put their own twist on them by using local ingredients. Hence, Peranakan cuisine (aka Nyonna cuisine) was born and still remains a delicious staple in Malaysia today.
One of the more famous Peranakan concoctions is laksa-a brothy noodle soup flavored with South East Asia ingredients like galangal, lemongrass and tamarind. Here in Malaysia, there are many different kinds of laksa-curry: laksa with its coconut milk rick broth, asam laksa made with mackerel and tamarind, sarawak laksa with its spicy red broth, and all the other variations in between.
As for me, my favorite laksa du jour is the curry kind. It’s got everything I love-Chinese style noodles in a tasty broth, Indian spices like cumin and coriander and of course, the tropical flavors of Malaysia such as lemongrass, tamarind, and coconut milk. It’s as diverse as the country itself and together forms a beautiful bowl of food.
I love diving into a big bowl of chewy noodles, tender pieces of chicken and bouncy fish balls all covered in a smooth coconut curry broth. Top it off with some light and airy tofu puffs and crunchy bean sprouts and I’m good to go.
Noodle soup with tender pieces of chicken, fish balls and tofu puffs served in a spicy coconut curry broth. A Malaysian classic! #soup #curry #noodles #laksa #spicy
- 6–7 cm (a little under 3 in~about the length of a thumb) of ginger or galangal (peeled and roughly chopped)
- 3 shallots
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp of Belacan shrimp paste
- 3–5 dried red chiles (depends on how hot you want it)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2–3 stalks of lemongrass
- 1 tsp tamarind puree
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2–3 candlenuts or macadamia nuts (optional)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
Curry Laksa soup
- 4 cups (a little under a liter) chicken broth
- 1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk
- a handful of curry leaves (optional)
- 2 chicken breasts (sliced thinly)
- 12–16 fish balls or medium sized shrimp
- bean sprouts (for garnish)
- 8–10 tofu puffs
- 200 g -300 g (7 oz – 10.5 oz) Chinese noodles or rice vermicelli (whichever you prefer)
- Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, combine ginger, shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, red chiles, turmeric powder, lemongrass, tamarind puree, ground coriander, ground cumin, candlenuts, sugar, sea salt and cooking oil. Puree together until a paste has formed.
- In a large wok or pot, cook paste over high heat until fragrant.
- Once fragrant, add chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
- Add a handful of curry leaves (about one strand’s worth) and coconut milk. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Add thinly sliced chicken breasts and fish balls. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until meat it cooked (about 5-7 minutes).
- Meanwhile, cook noodles according to directions and drain.
- Add tofu puffs to laksa broth, stir and let cook in the simmering sauce for a 1-2 minutes, then turn off heat.
- For assembly, place noodles at the bottom of bowl.
- Ladle soup over noodles.
- Top with fresh bean sprouts then serve with lime wedges and sambal on the side.
For a creamier soup, add an additional cup of coconut milk to the soup.
- Category: Main, Soup, Noodles
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: Malaysian, Asian
Keywords: laksa, curry, noodles, soup, Asian, Malaysian